Australian senator calls the Queen a coloniser while being sworn in to parliament

by Josh Butler
Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe forced to redo oath of allegiance after Senate president interjects and others voice criticism

Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe was told to repeat the oath of allegiance for Australian parliamentarians on Monday after she initially described the Queen as a coloniser.

Thorpe, a Greens senator for Victoria, was chided by her parliamentary colleagues, one of whom yelled, “You’re not a senator if you don’t do it properly.”

Thorpe was absent from parliament last week when other senators were officially sworn in, so took her oath on Monday morning. Walking to the Senate floor with her right fist raised in the air, Thorpe was asked to recite the words written on a card.

“I sovereign, Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and I bear true allegiance to the colonising her majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” she said.

The word “colonising” is not in the formal oath.

The Labor Senate president, Sue Lines, interjected, as other senators voiced criticism and began calling to Thorpe.

“You are required to recite the oath as printed on the card,” Lines told the Greens senator.

“Please recite the oath.”

Thorpe turned to speak to a Labor senator behind her who appeared to voice further criticism, before repeating the oath as printed.

Another senator was heard to say “none of us like it”.

Thorpe later tweeted “sovereignty never ceded” as she shared a photo of her swearing-in.

Thorpe last month described Australia as a “colonial project” and said the national flag did not represent her.

“It represents the colonisation of these lands, and it has no permission to be here, there’s been no consent, there’s been no treaty, so that flag does not represent me,” she told Channel 10’s The Project.

Thorpe said she stood for parliament “to question the illegitimate occupation of the colonial system in this country”.

“I am here for my people, and I will sacrifice swearing allegiance to the coloniser to get into the media like I am right now, to get into the parliament like I am every day,” she said.